When You’re Here

Pen in sketchbook.

Pen in sketchbook.

I live in a relatively rough neighbourhood. When I first moved in I noticed that everyone along my street seemed to move slowly. Sluggish. My mom pointed out that it could be because they have no where to go.

The other day it was nice and sunny so I decided to walk to Little Italy. As I walked by the Mustard Seed, a few smiled and at Spinelli’s I was taught how to make spaghetti (emphasis on the sauce). On my way home I noted that despite it being an “unpleasant” neighbourhood, I felt at home — I’m not sure what that says about me. The point is, I was beginning to feel like I didn’t stick out. I was supposed to be there.

Later that evening we went to a Global Visions Documentary (more on this to come). Afterwards, pulling up to my apartment, we noticed police searching around with flashlights. We scuttled inside.

A little while latter the police showed up (it was not the pizza guy. We had ordered pizza, and by this time the guy was already almost an hour late. He wouldn’t give us a discount).

No, we hadn’t heard anyone scream.

Growing up on the North side of Edmonton, I had never been asked that. I’m not saying that crime doesn’t happen in the nicer neighbourhoods, it does. It just doesn’t seem to happen as frequently or in the same way. I’m no expert, but crime in Suburbia seems to happen in-doors. As a trick-or-treating kid on Halloween I can remember a man asking me to come into his house. It was the first year that I was collecting candy without one of my parents. I could have said yes, but I didn’t. When I think of crime in nice neighbourhoods, I think of that kind. It’s quiet and it doesn’t show up on a neighbourhood crime map.

Whether day or night there are usually people mulling around the Mustard Seed. Think about it. When a group of people gather together for long enough there is bound to be an argument. The arguments escalate at night — you know, fewer people.

The next morning I read the Journal. Two men had gotten in a fight, and multiple stab wounds had been inflicted. One man was taken to the hospital for surgery and the other was eventually arrested.

At first I laughed it off. Ok, laughed it off might be too strong. I was almost proud to be brave enough to live in such a neighbourhood. I felt that Kerouac, Didion, Ginsberg, and especially Bukowski would be proud. Or they would consider it regular living, because I think Edmonton is pretty cushy.

On the night that the police came, Mack was over. I didn’t sleep that well, but I wasn’t scared. Mostly, I felt angry. They ruined my newly established view of my neighbourhood. I was once again the green outsider.

I was alone on the next night. I hadn’t been that scared since I was a kid (The Exorcist really got me when I was twelve). As  I was falling asleep I jumped at every sound. I noted every siren. There seemed to be many that night, they seemed to be close by. Howling. Howling. Howling.

It saddens me that I was that scared. I didn’t tell anyone that I was that nervous (I just mentioned that I was a little sketched out). I’m at a loss of what to do.

My mom asked if I wanted to move.


I guess the point is that we never know what is going to happen to us. Someone could break in right now. I could be mugged tomorrow on Whyte Avenue. Or we could be in a fatal car crash.


Don’t pay too much attention to the sirens.




This entry was published on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 11:36 pm. It’s filed under Artwork, Short Non-Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “When You’re Here

  1. Being scarred in those circumstances is nothing more than normal and rational. I agree, just live the day while you can. You never know what while happen tomorrow.

    • Thanks for commenting. You’re probably right. It’s just that people associate being scared of “the dark” with your childhood. Not many people talk about being scared in your own home as an adult. But I’m sure it happens to many people.

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